Sunday, April 8, 2012

How to Publish Your Dolls in a Magazine

Several people have asked me how I got an article about my dolls published in Art Doll Quarterly (ADQ).  This post is a description of how I thought about the process and what worked for me.

ADQ is looking for article submissions that are almost ready to publish.   If they are choosing between two submissions of equally well made and designed dolls they will always select the article that is well-written and accompanied with excellent high-resolution photographs.  Think of it this way.  The ADQ staff wants to do as little work as possible and still produce a good magazine issue.  If you want to get published in ADQ you need to do much more than make great dolls.

Here is what I think you have to do:

1.     Develop a coherent body of work.  I’ve had my dolls published twice and each time I made eight to twelve dolls that are were related to each other.   You may be able to get a publication with a smaller body of work.  The important point is that the dolls need to tell a story both individually and as a group. 

2.     Get well-posed and styled high-resolution photos of your dolls.  At first I hired a photographer and paid professional prices for the photos.  That can’t happen often because of the expense!  Then I tried semiprofessional photographers and got less pricey and lower quality photographs.  You get what you pay for with photos.  So I’m working on improving my photography skills and equipment.  (The best thing that I have done to improve my photography was opening an Etsy shop.  There is no way I can hire someone to do all that photography.  I had to learn.  It has taken time and a high tolerance for frustration but I am slowly getting better with practice.)  If you are going to take your own photos, look at how the dolls ADQ publishes are posed and styled. 

3.     Edit the photos and toss the ones that don’t work.  Some dolls are not as photogenic as others.  At this point I usually cut two or three dolls from the group because I can’t get a good photo.  I have trouble taking photos of dolls that have shiny or fuzzy parts.  I always take photos with simple backgrounds.

4.     Write an article about your dolls.  Tell your story.  Is it about how you make the dolls?  Is it about the dolls’ characters?  Are you championing a cause?  Your article must be well written and have a good narrative flow.  Get some feedback on your draft article from friends.  Friends who read ADQ may be particularly helpful.  Triple check for typos, spelling errors and grammar mistakes!

5.     Package your article for submission.  In addition to sending a disc with all the files, I also send a hard copy of the article laid out with illustrating photos.  For the Stockinettes article I included a miniature version of the aluminum armature because that was such an important part of my story.  Send a self-addressed postcard with your package if you want acknowledgment that they received your submission.  Put your contact information on everything in your submission package.

6.     Be prepared to wait for months.  They plan their issues far in advance of publication.  One day you may get an email from the editor of ADQ initiating a discussion about publishing your article.  

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